The Altra Vanish Carbon is one of the last carbon plated shoes to hit the market. Altra has said for a while they weren’t into carbon plates. It makes sense; the entire premise of Altra running is natural movement.
I was excited to try the Altra Vanish Carbon. I said recently that I had struggled to find a carbon-plated shoe that worked for me. The combination of stack height and plate doesn’t work for me. Yet, I still try all of them. I was curious to see how Altra’s half plate and lower stack height would feel.
You can definitely count on the Altra Vanish Carbon to feel more different than any other carbon-plated shoe out there.
Altra Vanish Carbon Quick Facts:
Weight: 6.2 oz
Heel to Toe Drop: 0 mm
Altra Vanish Carbon Introduction:
One of the most common questions is whether the Altra Vanish Carbon still has a 0 mm drop? Yes.
What kind of carbon plate does the Altra Vanish Carbon have? Half of the shoe, not the entire shoe.
Altra Vanish Carbon Fit:
If you are unfamiliar with how Altra fits, their brand is designed to be “foot-shaped.” What do I mean by that? Altra running shoes have a more forgiving forefoot with more space to splay your toes. They are definitely not the widest brand, but they are one of the most forgiving carbon-plated shoes.
The Vanish Carbon uses Breathable Engineered Mesh. I’ve taken the Altra Vanish Carbon out for various types of runs in both good and bad weather, and the engineered mesh breathes well. Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about that.
To be honest, the upper of the Vanish Carbon is not my favorite. It has the upper of a training shoe. The mesh is slightly thick, and while it’s breathable, it just feels too thick for a racing shoe. The laces are equally as thick. The tongue is thin and sharp and easily cuts through my ankle. I firmly believe the best running shoe uppers disappear off your feet. While the Altra Vanish Carbon does that (for the most part), I would love to see the mesh become thinner, but the tongue becomes more comfortable.
The Vanish Carbon fits true to size. I typically wear a women’s size 10-11 wide, and I found the Vanish Carbon in size 10.5 to fit well. The Altra Vanish Carbon does fit the widest of any carbon plated shoe.
Altra Vanish Carbon Ride:
Altra has used their most advanced technology in the Vanish Carbon. It’s lighter and more responsive than anything else they’ve created. They use the EVA-based supercritical Ego Pro midsole with a 33 mm stack height. The stack height is fairly similar to other carbon plated In the Vanish Carbon but is large for Altra. Finally, they keep the shoe under 7 ounces which is about the same weight as the Escalante Racer.
On to the carbon plate: The Vanish Carbon has a 3/4 length carbon plate made from Carbitex (the same company that works with both Speedland and Adidas). The Altra Vanish Carbon carbon plate has unique features with flex grooves that run vertically. According to Altra, the flex grooves are designed to harness the energy of the big and little toes.
Finally, the Vanish Carbon carbon plate works with the shoe’s active stance rocker located slightly towards the shoe’s forefoot to create a more efficient toe-off.
Altra can continue their legacy of zero drop, but with the addition of the carbon plate and rocker, we wonder how minimalist are they? That being said, they created a carbon-plated shoe that made sense for their brand.
Traction and Durability: Most carbon plated shoes are getting between 100-150 miles before the cushion and foam deteriorate. I suspect the Altra Vanish Carbon will get on the higher range. As far as traction, I’ve run on several types of runs on both sand and road and inclement weather. You don’t have to worry about the traction for the Altra Vanish Carbon, and I would wear it on a rainy run.
Another thing that makes the Vanish Carbon different from other carbon plated shoes is because the shoe is lower to the ground, you are more stable. It’s a perfect shoe for races that involve a lot of turns because you aren’t worried about losing a few seconds due to lack of traction.
The Altra Vanish Carbon is designed for races and workouts, which I use it for. There is no point in doing easy runs in it. I do feel faster when using the shoe. It does feel significantly different than any other carbon-plated shoe. It’s still lower to the ground, and you aren’t going to get a crazy bouncy sensation as you do in many other carbon-plated shoes. If you are someone who prefers a carbon-plated shoe but wants something more natural, the Vanish Carbon is a good option.
Altra Vanish Carbon Conclusion:
The Vanish Carbon is an excellent carbon-plated shoe. It fills the void of what the carbon plated market does not have something without the stack height and drop. It feels more responsive than many other carbon-plated shoes, and you don’t feel like your foot is sinking into a pile of mush.
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Looking to learn more about running shoes? In my ebook, I talk about why you need a good running shoe, a shoe’s anatomy, neutral vs. stable, and even myths of running shoes.
Questions for you:
Have you tried the Altra Vanish Carbon?
What is your favorite racing shoe?